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Yes, we are both Gemini; no we didn’t ring ahead to colour coordinate! Isobelle Carmody (left) and Kim Falconer (right) at the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2012

Many of you will know I was at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival last week, enjoying the sun, sea breeze, art work and crowds of readers, writers, authors, agents, journalist and publishers. It’s quite an event. Two of my major highlights were conducting an all day workshop on writing, selling and publishing genre fiction, and joining Isobelle Carmody in conversation for the high school students. We had a blast.

Isobelle and I were the only fantasy authors at  the festival and although we come from different ‘houses’ (I’m HarperVoyager and Isobelle is Penguin, Allen and Unwin and Ford Street Publishing) we had a feeling of kindred spirits. I wasn’t surprised, and not  just because we were dressed alike. Spec fiction authors tend to approach each other with a natural camaraderie that forms bonds fast. I mean, our writing is so ‘other’ when compared to the ‘literary’ world, it’s just natural law of attraction at work.

Both being Gemini, you can imagine there were no pauses or gaps in conversation. I interviewed Isobelle on various topics, the early start to her career, (she was 14 when she began the Obernewtyn Chronicles) her use of dreams in story and plot, her travels between Australia and her other home in Prague, her visual artistry, the controversial scene in The Gathering and some of the shorts in Metro Winds. She has a website up right now to celebrate the re-release of Greylands and there you’ll find an intense and comprehensive debate on the future of books both ‘e’ and traditional. The contributions are from a range of authors, gamers, artists, literary agents, librarians and academics from Kim Wilkins to Alex Adsett and all are introduced by Isobelle. The site comes down on August 15th so I highly recommend you visit it now!

For those of you who are writing, selling or promoting genre fiction, you might be interested in the PowerPoint presentation notes from my all day workshop. We covered a LOT of ground. My attendees ranged between 20 and 90 and wrote an eclectic mix of YA, crime, SFF, alternate history and memoir. I think everyone had fun and learned a thing or two. I know I did.

If there are questions about the workshop or the fest, drop it in the comments. And yes, there were some crazy Mercury Rx moments, but I can laugh about them now!

MWAHS xKim

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